Alexander Klapheke

I am a sixth-year graduate student in linguistics at Harvard. My areas of focus are formal semantics and the syntax–semantics interface, and my other academic interests include math, logic, philosophy of language, and computer science. My advisor is Gennaro Chierchia.


NPI Intervention

Factive predicates such as ‘know’ and ‘realize’ seem to block NPI licensing in Italian (*Non sono sorpreso che questo sia mai accaduto.) but not English (I'm surprised this could ever have happened.). I am investigating the cause of this phenomenon, and why it doesn’t happen in English.

Aspect Particles

The English aspectual particles already, yet, still, and anymore seem to modify events in ways that depend on the speaker’s expectations. For example, already implies that an event takes place earlier than expected. I am looking at the mechanics of the particles, in particular asymmetries between already and still, and developing an alternative-based semantics of these particles which also accounts for the negative polarity of yet and anymore.


Joint work with Teodora Mihoc. Modified numerals (more than n, less than n, at least n, at most n) pose several problems for theories of number meaning; in addition, the latter two seem to be focus-sensitive. We are unifying insights from various theories of numeral meaning to capture phenomena such as these.

Papers & Talks


Fall 2017
Ling 104 Word Structure (Teaching Fellow) Office hours: Mon. 5–6 in Boylston 318
Spring 2017
Ling 97r Sophomore Tutorial: Theories of Reference
Fall 2016
EMR 11 Language, Logic, & Interpretation (Teaching Fellow)
Ling 98a Junior Tutorial: Presuppositions
Spring 2016
EMR 11 Language, Logic, & Interpretation (Teaching Fellow)
Ling 160/Psy 1605 Psychology of Language (Teaching Fellow)
Fall 2015
Ling 101 The Science of Language (Teaching Fellow)
Ling 98a Junior Tutorial: Discourse Analysis
Spring 2015
Ling 101 The Science of Language (Teaching Fellow)
Ling 97r Sophomore Tutorial: Modal & Temporal Logic
Fall 2014
Ling 116 Semantic Theory I (Teaching Fellow)
Ling 98a Junior Tutorial: Discourse Analysis


These are some small things I cooked up to solve small, specific problems. Unless otherwise specified, they are released under the MIT License.

My Beamer theme
Useful macros for semantics
Syntax file for the CHAT transcription format
Keymaps to easily type IPA, Pinyin, and Bopomofo
q, a very simple reading queue for academic papers
Pandoc filter for setting parallel texts (for reading, not machine learning)
Script to convert Polish notation to Infix notation (helpful if you ever have to read Prior)